Twelve weeks old. Three months. This little person has been out and about for twelve whole weeks now. I looked at some pictures from her first three weeks, and could not believe how tiny she was compared to the robust little being who now fills my days and nights. In the past two weeks, she’s had a language explosion. There were a few noises here and there, a little cooing or babbling, and she loved it when we had “conversations” where I would mimic her, but her game is at a whole new level. She’s making noises now that resemble parts of actual words, vowels and consonants which we receive with delight. We’re pretty sure she says “hi” already, because as first-time parents we are convinced our baby is a genius. She says it to people when they walk in the room or come up to her, and she says it when she sees the smiley face on her favorite toy, so it appears she knows how to use it and therefore we count it as a real word and not mere noise. Even my skeptic of a dad, who politely laughs when I tell him my baby is a genius, is convinced.
In the past few weeks, her personality has emerged loud and clear. She has a “blankie” now, which is really just a cloth diaper, i.e. a square of white gauze material. Not the thick kind, but light and loosely-woven. She waves it around, she chews on it, she plays peek-a-boo with it. She has to have one wherever she goes, clutched in her chubby little fingers. She latched onto it over a month ago, during a phase when she was starting to grab things and loved to have fabric in her hands. Her quest to hold handfuls of fabric resulted in her grabbing the skirt of anything even vaguely dress-like we’d put her in, and hoisting it over her face. If only we could’ve taught her to say “free show!” while she lifted her dress, we’d be YouTube superstars right now. One day she grabbed the gauze diaper I was using to wipe spit-up off her face, and refused to let go. The free shows immediately ceased. While it would’ve melted the heart of a knitting relative if she’d latched onto one of the many hand-made blankets bestowed upon her by distant aunts and grandmas, I am happy enough with her choice. These diapers come in packs of 12, they are machine-washable and easily replaceable. I can only hope she chooses more comfort objects that make my life just a little more stress-free.
A development that has melted my heart in the past month is clinginess. Sometimes, she just wants her mama. No amount of “oh, Grandma’s baby needs ______” or “here, she wants to bounce” or “she wants _________” from the self-appointed baby experts will suffice. It has to be me. She can’t really reach for me yet, she’s not that coordinated, but when I hold her after one of these episodes she clings to my shirt like a baby koala. It doesn’t happen very often, because I am blessed with an easygoing baby, but when it does a tiny, selfish part of me smiles. You see, for the longest time I was convinced that Piper didn’t actually care who I was. I was also mostly-convinced that she actually preferred my mom to me. My husband repeatedly told me I was nuts, but I just felt like “oh, THANKS. I went through all that crap, crawling around on the floor of our apartment for two weeks because I couldn’t walk and then having a c-section and then getting raw, bloody nipples from breastfeeding and you don’t even like me best?! What the fuck?!” I know parenting isn’t all about getting what I want or rewards or whatever, but it’s nice to finally see a return on my investment. I’m banking these moments against the inevitable teenage “eww, stay away from me!” phase.
So now when she quiets down immediately after being passed to me, I hug her and smell her head (shut up, I know y’all are baby-head-sniffers too) and at last feel like her mother.